Friday, January 21, 2011

A Romantic Valentine's Day...Surgery?

It was still dark outside when my alarm went off this morning at 4:30am. I took a quick shower, threw on the outfit I picked out the night before and grabbed some coffee after I brushed my teeth and we were out the door by 5:45am. My fiancĂ©e was working and my brother volunteered to watch the dog, so it was just my parents and I today. We made it over the bridge and into the city by 7:30am so we decided to find a Starbuck's to kill some time until my appointment at 9:15am. It was a beautiful day in San Francisco so there were plenty of interesting people to watch walking down the sidewalk in front of the Starbuck's window as I sipped my non-fat vanilla latte and munched on my mini vanilla scones. My mom and I imagined where each of them were going and I got so wrapped up in the story that I almost forgot why we were there.

We arrived at the neurosurgeon's office about fifteen minutes early, checked in at the front desk, and then took a seat in front of the expansive wall of windows. There was still fog lingering over the Golden Gate bridge when we got there but by the time we met with the nurse and then the doctor and then his office coordinator, the blanket of fog covering the city lifted. The doctor was busy across the street at the hospital so I met with his nurse practitioner first to review my past medical history. He reviewed my scans so that he could show me what he wanted to do.

After looking at my scans, discussing my history, and a meeting last week with my neuro-oncologist, the vice chair of neurosurgery at UCSF recommended another craniotomy in order to remove more of my cancer-infiltrated brain tissue. He said he would never go back in (or perform an extended resection) unless he could get at least 70% of what is left. There is a risk that I could lose some sensory function in my left foot/ankle but it wouldn't affect my motor function in that area. In other words, I will still be able to use my foot/ankle but if I were standing barefoot on carpet I might not be able to tell you if it was shag or burber. He is going to avoid my visual cortex so that I won't risk losing any of my sight.

My surgery is scheduled for February 14th, 2011, which means I will be able to go back to school next week! I will get two weeks of school under my belt before my surgery so hopefully I will be able to make all the arrangements so that I can finish the semester from my parents' house. I emailed my instructors this evening asking them to consider my situation and make appropriate accommodations.

I'm feeling okay about the decision to go ahead with surgery. I understand that I have a better chance at recovery if I start treatment with less cancer cells in my head. I'm nervous about having surgery in SF because I'm not as familiar with the hospital but UCSF Neurosurgery is in the top three in nation and #1 on the west coast so I shouldn't be too nervous. I'm honestly more anxious about being able to finish this semester than I am about the surgery. But the best part is: God's in charge of something as important as brain surgery but he's also in charge of something as insignificant as school. If I'm going to make it through this year I'm going to have learn to let go and trust Him with every part of my life.

I Peter 5:6-7 says: 6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 

I turned our engagement announcement into the Daily Democrat yesterday and since we all know how reliable that paper's the photo just in case it doesn't actually get printed before the wedding. :) 

I will post more updates soon, but for now I need some sleep! Goodnight :) 


  1. UCSF is where my sister had her two craniotomies. They were great. Prayers and love for you.

  2. I'm glad to hear you have a chance of staying on track for school! Your optimism in the face of adversity is so inspiring, and encouraging to those of us that have our own health struggles to deal with...and your faith is inspiring at all times. I hope you know that even though you're going through something terrible, you're blessing those around you. Praying hard for you, Maggie!